Authoritarianism in Latin America since Independence

By Will Fowler | Go to book overview

but made little attempt to secure a mobilized clientele of its own through its housing policy. Ultimately, Pinochet's ideal proprietors were passive, family-centered, introspective individuals. They rejoiced in the privilege of the casa propia, even if this were just a tiny flat in a highly stigmatized part of the city, far from their place of work. If the regime had to behave in a most un-Chicago like way to achieve this vision of an ordered city and docile owner-occupiers, then so be it.

The fact that the viviendas básicas continue to appear on the margins of the city also tells us more than a little about Chile's transition to democracy. The structures of housing provision remain the same: the houses are produced, financed, and distributed in exactly the same way as before. International approval for Chile's transition extends to this inherited housing policy; it has been described by Time magazine as a "show-piece of social policy." 46 Yet the idea that the modernising Pinochet regime had successfully removed popular mobilization from Chilean social life was proved to be false in 1992. Groups of allegados once again resorted to the toma in order to manifest their acute housing need. The struggle for housing--so much a part of Chilean history--has not been extinguished completely.


NOTES
1.
The words are from Pinochet, given in a press conference shortly after the coup.
2.
B. Stallings Class Conflict and Economic Development in Chile 1958-1973 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1978).
3.
J. P. Arellano Políticas sociales y desarollo en Chile: 1924-1984 ( Santiago: CIEPLAN, 1985).
4.
P. Cleaves Bureaucratic Politics and Administration in Chile. (Berkely: University of California Press, 1974).
5.
E. Tironi Autoritarismo, modernizacion y marginalidad: El caso de Chile 1973-1989.' ( Santiago: SUR, 1993) and M. A. Garreton, The Chilean Political Process ( London: Unwin, 1989)
6.
It should be remembered that Alessandri had only narrowly won the 1958 election, after the intervention of the infamous Cura de Catapilco, a somewhat suspicious, radical ex-priest who had denied Allende the handful of votes needed for victory.
7.
Over time, standards in the program declined to such an extent that beneficiaries were simply given a chalked off piece of land. Hence its popular nickname Operación Tiza.
8.
E. Lozano, "Housing the Urban Poor in Chile: Contrasting Experiences under 'Christian Democracy' and 'Unidad Popular,'" Latin American Research 5 ( 1975), pp. 177-96.

E. Haramoto, "Políticas de vivienda social: Experiencia Chilena de las tres ultimas décadas'" in J. Macdonald (ed.), Vivienda social-reflexiones y experiencias ( Santiago: SUR n,p. 1983)

9.
Chilean Construction Chamber, 40th Anniversary Report, ( Santiago: Cámara de Construcción Chilena, 1993).
10.
This influence was through the Comités de los sin casa, which organized many land occupations. It was common for Communist and Socialist leaders and

-146-

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